Recipe: Honey-roasted Swede (or rutabaga)

This recipe isn’t mine, we found it several places on the web. It works, and the result is delicious!

  • 1 swede (rutabaga) peeled and cut into ¾ inch cubes
  • 3 tbsp of honey
  • 3 tbsp margarine or butter, melted

Heat the oven to 400F. Mix the honey and melted margarine, put the swede cubes into the mix and make sure they are all covered. Put the cubes into a Pyrex dish, pour some of the remaining liquid in the dish, and put in the oven for 45 minutes. Every ten minutes, take the dish out and turn the cubes. They will turn brown and crispy on the edges when they’re done, and soft inside like a cooked potato.

Swede/rutabaga is almost guaranteed to boggle the grocery store checkout people. I have to point out which vegetable it is, or it’ll get held up with a "what IS this?" or rung up as a turnip.

Recipe: English Flapjacks

English flapjacks are an oat bar made with golden syrup, not a pancake. We found Tate and Lyle’s Golden Syrup in the grocery store this month (Dierbergs in Creve Coeur, with the other syrups), and set about making proper English flapjacks. It took four batches to get this recipe right.

If you cannot find golden syrup, this page has some ideas of alternatives.

English Flapjacks.

Ingredients

  • 6 oz (1½ sticks) unsalted butter or margarine
  • 6 oz (almost 1½ cups) dark brown sugar
  • 4 tablespoons Tate and Lyle’s Golden Syrup (available in some US grocery stores, can use 3tbsp golden syrup and 1tbsp dark molasses if you want)
  • 10 oz (3¼ cups) quick oats (cheap thin oats work best for flapjacks)
  • 1 teaspoon of sea salt
  • (optional: 3oz of raisins, dates, dried cherries, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, hazelnuts, etc. Chocolate chips will not work, they will melt too fast)

Set the oven for 350F. Melt the margarine, add the golden syrup, salt, and sugar, and mix well until the sugar is melted. Remove from the heat and stir in the oats, making sure all of them are covered. It will look like you have too many oats, just keep stirring until all of them are coated.

Grease an 8 inch square Pyrex dish with cooking spray, add the mixture and squish down with a spatula. Bake for 20 minutes only, even though it won’t look cooked by the end. Leave in the dish to cool and solidify, loosening the edges with a knife, then turn out and slice into squares while still slightly warm. Store in an airtight container.

This makes sixteen squares about two inches across, or eight bars. Ours didn’t last long.

Recipe: Roast Potatoes

We made 2 batches of these over Thanksgiving, and both were very well received. I don’t think this is a familiar recipe to Americans, but it’s a standard part of the British Christmas Dinner menu.

  • Enough potatoes to feed everyone
  • Vegetable oil

Peel the potatoes and chop them into quarters, or smaller depending on the size. Nothing smaller than an inch and a half square. Boil them for 10 minutes ONLY. Drain, and coat in oil, putting them in a plastic bag with the oil works well.

Put the potatoes on a baking sheet with a rim, and pour oil onto the sheet so there’s a thin layer under the taters. Put in the oven for an hour at 400F, or until golden brown and crispy on the outside.

Your oven mileage may vary. The first batch had an hour at 350F turned up to 500F for the last 15 minutes and could have had longer, the second had an hour at 450F and it was a bit too much.

Recipe: Better garlic bread

Hubby came up with this one as an experiment. Roasted garlic is milder and without the aftertaste. You end up with a golden brown garlic cheese loaf.

  • 1 head of garlic
  • some butter
  • grated cheese
  • 1 roll of Pillsbury dough
  • a little milk

Slice the top off the head of garlic so you can see each clove and pour some oil over it. Wrap the garlic in foil and roast for 40 minutes at 375F. Extract the soft garlic cloves and mash them with some butter.

Spread the garlic butter on the dough sheet and sprinkle grated cheese over it. Roll up, seal the ends with milk, and brush milk over the top. Bake on a greased cookie sheet for 20 minutes at 375F.

You need the whole head of garlic, not just one clove. Years ago, Martha made the mistake that a clove of garlic was the whole head and created a toxic salad with multiple heads of garlic, but you do actually need the head of garlic for this recipe.

Recipe: Chicken Korma

I love food that’s easy to cook. This doesn’t take a lot of fuss to make and it’s really tasty.

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 bell pepper
  • handful of raisins
  • handful of almonds
  • 3 tablespoons of mild curry powder
  • 1 packet of chicken (about 1.5 pounds, cut into small cubes)
  • 300ml of chicken stock
  • 200ml pot of Greek yoghurt
  • 1 cup of uncooked plain white rice

Sauté the onion and pepper. Add the curry powder and cubed chicken, stir fry for 5 minutes. Add the chicken stock, raisins, and almonds, and start cooking the rice. Simmer for about 20 minutes to reduce the liquid. Make sure the chicken is cooked all through. Right before serving, remove from heat and stir in the Greek yoghurt. Serve with the rice, makes four servings.

Penzey’s sweet curry powder would work for this, I used Sharwoods mild curry powder from our international store and made the stock from a chicken Oxo cube. Mine also had carrots in. Greek yoghurt is healthier than using cream and tastes great in curry.

Recipe: Comfort Food

It’s been a long time since I posted a recipe. This one doesn’t have a name beyond "that chicken bacon peanut sauce thing," but it’s good comfort food and we get four meals out of it.

Ingredients

  • 1 packet of chicken breasts
  • 1 packet of bacon (I prefer smoked)
  • 1 small box of mushrooms
  • 1 can of light coconut milk
  • 1 packet of Thai peanut sauce (usually "A Taste of Thai" brand)
  • Rice

Chop up the chicken into small chunks, slice the bacon and mushrooms, and stir-fry them all up in a big wok. Drain the liquid. Make up the peanut sauce with the coconut milk, add to the meat and stir thoroughly. Make enough rice for 2 to 4 people, serve and enjoy!

We use steamed rice and it is very good. You could put a handful of chopped almonds on top as garnish, and add a bell pepper to the mix.

Recipe: Citrus Scones

My guinea pigs survived the first test batch of citrus scones after Thanksgiving dinner. The recipe is a variation on my English Scones.

Citrus Scones

  • 2 tablespoons of Penzeys orange peel
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of orange essence
  • 1 pound of whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon of cream of tartar
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 2 teaspoons of baking powder
  • 4 oz butter
  • 4 oz raw cane sugar
  • around 300 ml of milk
  • Williams Sonoma bakers lemon glaze

Rehydrate the orange peel in a bowl with a mix of 1/2 cup of water and a 1/2 teaspoon of orange essence. This will take at least 20 minutes. Drain, and save the liquid. Mix flour, baking powder, cream of tartar, and salt. Rub the butter in, then add sugar and orange peel. Mix well.

Add the reserved liquid to the milk, with a teaspoon of orange essence. Add milk mixture slowly until you have a springy dough, you shouldn’t use all of it. Knead for a minute, roll out to 3/4 inch thick and cut into rounds. Place on a greased baking tray and put in an oven at 475F for 20 minutes. Allow to cool, and make up a batch of lemon glaze according to the packet instructions. I made mine a bit thicker. Put glaze on scone, enjoy.

This made 12 regular scones and one runt of the litter. Tastes a lot like the orange scones in St Louis Bread Co.

Socks and pancakes

Finished the FIL socks last night, they’ll probably get mailed to England at the weekend, along with the leftovers in case of darning. There’s a lot of yarn leftover. I liked working with KnitPicks Sock Landscape and Sock Memories, but I prefer socks that can go through the washing machine for myself.

Picked up strip three of the leftovers blanket for lunchtime knitting. I’ll sew up what I have once this one is done, so I’m starting the new ball of pink Debbie Bliss Cashmerino before the navy Kroy is all used up. The Cashmerino was going to be a cabled hair band, but I thought it might look like tangled intestines and put the yarn away for another project. If I sew it up and weave the ends in as I go, there’s less unpleasant stuff to do at the end. Maybe that’s why I like knitting socks: no sewing.

Lent starts tomorrow, so today was Pancake Day in England, marked by the eating of crepe-style pancakes (not buttermilk ones) with lemon and sugar. Pancake flipping is an art I never mastered, so I use the cowardly spatula-assisted flipping method.

English Pancakes

  • 1 cup of flour
  • 3 eggs
  • 1.25 cups of milk
  • pinch of salt

Toppings:

Lemon juice and sugar, maple syrup, brown sugar, fresh fruit and cream, honey, banana and nutella, use your imagination!

Sift the flour, whisk up the batter, and let it stand for a half hour to let some of the bubbles out. Wipe some oil across a pan with sloped sides using a paper towel. Pour some batter into the pan, and tilt the pan to spread out the batter. When one side is golden brown, flip the pancake, or wimp out and use a spatula to turn it over. Serve with lemon juice and sugar, or make a stack of pancakes with brown sugar between each layer and serve slices like a pie. Wipe the pan with oil between pancakes.

Makes about six pancakes, if one is really thick and one is amazingly thin.

Recipe: Bacon pie

It’s been a while since I posted a recipe here and I’m thinking of cooking this tonight. It’s comfort food, serve it with a vegetable and good bread, then curl up in front of the fire.

Bacon Pie

  • 1 pound of thick sliced, smoked bacon
  • 1 vegetable Oxo cube
  • 2 medium potatoes
  • 1 box of stuffing mix

Grease a Pyrex dish and preheat the oven to 375F. Chop the bacon into one-inch pieces and place a layer in the dish. Sprinkle stuffing over the bacon, but don’t cover it entirely. Start with a tablespoonful of stuffing per layer. If it’s looking sparse, add more but don’t bury the bacon. Layer bacon and stuffing until you run out of bacon.

Crumble the Oxo cube into 250ml (1 cup) of water, stir, and pour over the bacon. Do not leave the bacon floating, you may need less than 250ml of water. Pour the water, let it soak into the stuffing, pour some more. Slice the potato into thin ovals and put a couple of layers over the mix. Dot the potato with butter and bake for an hour, or until the potato looks crispy around the edges.

You can put grated cheese on top of the potato for more flavour, I use sharp cheddar and put it on in the last ten minutes. It’s worth putting the dish on a baking sheet in case of spillage.

You won’t use a full box of stuffing in the pie, I used about half. Vegetable Oxo cubes are stock cubes, you’ll have to get them from the English section of an international grocery store. You may be able to substitute a vegetable soup-in-a-cup mix for the Oxo. If you do try that, please let me know how it went. Got to go cook!

Recipe: Steak and Ale Pie

This is a good English pie. Tastes wonderful!

Steak and Ale Pie

  • 1 frozen pie crust
  • 0.5 to 0.75 pounds of steak (stir fry steak works well)
  • 1.5 cups of Newcastle Brown Ale (or other dark ale of your choice)
  • 1 dessert spoon of Bisto gravy granules (go to an international store for these, they are well worth it)
  • 1 or two leeks
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 box of mushrooms
  • 1 small stick of cheese
  • 1 large potato, or enough mashed potato to cover a pie

Boil potato and mash, set aside for later. Cut meat into small pieces. Chop leek thinly and fry with mushrooms and garlic. Add meat, brown for a minute then and add ale slowly. Stir to get rid of the froth from the ale. Boil until the alcohol is gone, stirring often, add gravy granules. Reduce until you have a thick gravy consistency. Pour what you can into the pie crust and cover with mashed potato, it will not all fit. Save the rest for another day.

Bake at around 375F until the potato has gone crispy on top (at least 20 minutes). Grate the cheese over the pie and return to the oven. Remove when cheese has melted and gone crispy around the edges. Drink the remaining ale with dinner and serve with good bread rolls and a vegetable of your choice.

(You may be able to substitite a packet gravy mix for the Bisto, but I’ve never tried it that way. If you try it this way, please drop me a feedback email and let me know what happened.)